Courageous leadership and strategic decision making are best achieved by incorporating a range of insights from a diverse group of people.
I'm a white, middle-aged Australian man, living in the country I was born in. That automatically means I've led a life more privileged than many.
Do I know what it's like to live with a disability? Not first hand.
Do I know what it's like to live under apartheid or to be a victim of racial prejudice? Not first hand.
But I pride myself on being both sensitive and compassionate, and open to growing my understanding.
Inclusivity, openness, and embracing difference are key pillars of modern leadership.
Historically our federal Parliament hasn't been great at this.
It's only recently that we've seen any substantial growth in the number of female members of Parliament.
It's only recently that we've seen our first indigenous members in Parliament.
The Liberal Party traditionally has a high proportion of ex-lawyers, and Labor tends to be dominated by those with a union movement background.
This creates a Parliament that is lacking in diversity of backgrounds, experiences, capabilities, perspectives, and thought.
The consequence? Well, it's played out for us across this last week of the election campaign:
These comments have all been directed toward Liberal minister Peter Dutton in recent days, following his suggestion that his competitor in Labor candidate Ali France would use her disability to seek an advantage.
On the other side of the political divide, Labor candidate Melissa Parke this week withdrew from contesting this election after reports that she told a public meeting that Israel's treatment of Palestinians was "worse than the South African system of apartheid".
We shouldn't expect great policy and great leadership from any forum which is deficient in terms of diversity, inclusivity and openness.
Surely we (as Australian voters) have the right to expect better from those we would elect to represent us?
- Tony Chapman is a Launceston-based Director of SRA Corporate Change. SRA Corporate Change focuses on unlocking the potential of organisations and their leaders to cultivate high performance through strategy, leadership and culture.